As the 2012 presidential debates get underway, my memory goes back to other recent presidential elections:

Remember how Dan Rather was hounded out of the anchor’s chair because one portion of his otherwise-unquestionably-rock-solid story on George W. Bush’s sketchy military service was called into question? Right-wing internet bloggers were credited with keeping the pressure on Rather and CBS until they got what they wanted — Rather’s head on a pike.

Fast-forward four years, to late October of 2004. Internet bloggers, this time on the left, were afire over photographic evidence showing that George W. Bush cheated in his debates with John Kerry, in that he was wearing a special hearing aid setup that was visible under his clothes and that allowed his handlers to feed him answers and other commentary on the fly, so he could look more competent than he really was. But interestingly, this time around, the bloggers weren’t able to get any mass corporate-owned media to do anything other than jokey pieces designed to mock anyone who brought up the subject as a “conspiracy theorist”.